(my collaboration with Lavanya Arora from India)
Why does home have to be a place (or several), or even “that feeling”, or a person (or several)? Why does home have to be anything? For most of my adult life, I haven’t felt any sense of belongingness, so I have tried to search for it everywhere. On this journey, I have mostly felt alone and dejected as if there’s no one who can understand me, yet I know I belong to this niche of people who think they belong nowhere. The kind of people Murakami writes about in his novels.
When I look at my school friends who haven’t managed to get out of our hometown, I see a common thread connecting all of them: lack of growth. Maybe they have grown on their own terms, but what is growth if it doesn’t make you appreciate something other than what it inherently yours or related to your culture or that you have been conditioned to love or appreciate? Casual sexism, racism, being jealous of people who can speak proper English and make fun of them, topped with a spoonful of hypocrisy; cooked in a pressure cooker of intolerance, masked as being polite, being curt, being well-mannered, being the personification of a privileged upbringing. All of this chokes me.
Every time I come to this so-called home, this hometown, all of these things flux through my head. In and out and in and out and in and out. How does one become idiot enough to not be able to see through this farce? How does one know of this being a farce and yet be a part of it? Doesn’t it hurt their conscience or do they not know that other perspectives exist too? Do they even spend a minute from their busy schedule on thinking about these things I break my head over for no reason at all?
And so I constructed my home in Nada, in the center of the halo of light, in the constellations on the nights of abandoned skies, and everywhere that was not concrete. I constructed a place in my heart, in my mind, in my soul and called it home. And my body became a manifestation of this home, welcoming everyone, especially ones who were not allowed a home anywhere on Earth. Because the places they once called home had borders now.
I carried my home in my mind, raising my ‘self’ from an existential crisis and thus I had more chances of leaving a place that was in shape of concrete. I wandered in jungles, in strange cities and streets, I ran into faces strange yet unknown, I witnessed 3 a.m. skies, I climbed mountains and swam the deepest oceans.
And with this home, I knew it was no more a place to go back to but a place that I always carried with myself. I am no more the part of flux. I am a creator of my own flux, I pause and play it to my own liking, I take breaks often and I ponder when I want to. I don’t think about reasons for doing anything. In the sanctuary of my home reasons are boring. I experience life, for the sake of it.